Wolves y'all. Wolves.
I get a wolf. Kind of.
Getting right down to bizness on this one, but thanks so much for being a reader!
If you’re a subscriber, thanks so much! Please do forward to your friends if you think they’d enjoy.
If you’re not a subscriber but would like to join us, welcome!
I’m not a lesbian but when I read Lauren Hough’s line about wanting to own a dog that looked a particular way so she could fulfill the lesbian dream of owning a wolf, I knew just what she meant.
(If you have not read Hough’s book Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing, stop reading this and go buy a copy or download it from your local library. After that, you’ll probably want to follow her as she treks around America in a van, writing her next book.)
When I became a teenager, I wanted lots of things that signified toughness without actually needing to become tough. A motorcycle. A leather jacket that could be worn on a motorcycle.1
And a wolf.
It’s funny, this reading of wolves as symbols of female empowerment. They still strike me this way — it’s all the howling at the moon I think.
I mean c’mon y’all. If ever there was an animal connected to the cycles of the moon, the wolf is that animal.2
At least it makes more sense than the alpha male/beta male wolf hierarchy that some deeply faulty papers from decades ago proposed and that then then somehow got tied into human male notions of sexual power.
None of this has anything to do with the wolf of course. The wolf has its own complex, nuanced systems of mating that involves a male hierarchy, a female hierarchy, and outsiders (lone wolves) to broaden the gene pool.
A wolf is not a motorcycle or a leather jacket. She is not a ladder of male domination. She is especially not a pet.
People get wolves and they can’t handle them. Or they get wolves and it’s illegal & someone reports them.
Or maybe they run a mini-zoo, a privately owned zoo, a place without funding for it but they get a wolf anyway and then can’t afford it. All the meat, all the care. They’re pack animals, you’re gonna need a few at least. Some of them don’t get along, you’ll have to separate them. How much land did you set aside for this again? How much time?
Eventually, the wolves end up at a reserve. If they’re lucky, it’ll be an ethical reserve where they’ll get the food and space they need to thrive.
Tom Pluck and I visited one such reserve on Saturday, the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania. It had rained; the wolves were wet. And beautiful. Outgoing. Or bashful or mischievous or shy or curious. They were individuals, and they were parts of packs. I can’t wait to share more with you in the coming posts.
(Also, did I get a baby wolf stuffed animal? Of course I did. Woo hoo!!! I got a wolf!)
Hope you all have a wanderful week, and let me know if you had an animal that you desperately wanted when you were a kid/teenager.
I did once get a black leather jacket covered in steel studs from the infamous Atlanta thrift store, Junkman’s Daughter. Actually, my friend Johnny and I decided to go halfsies on it because, even at a thrift store, neither of us could afford it. Also — sorry Johnny — neither of us could pull it off. At least we knew it. I don’t think that thing ever got worn except maybe as part of a Halloween costume before eventually making its way back to a thrift store.